As the U.S. strengthens its campaign against the targeting of ethnic minorities, the U.S. State Department discussed hate speech against Korean residents in Japan in its annual human rights report on Thursday. Titled ‘Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2013,” the report mentioned ultra-right wing groups in Japan using “racially pejorative” terms in their protests held in predominantly ethnic Korean neighborhoods in Tokyo.
The report, while mentioning discriminations against other nationalities, such as Chinese, Brazilians and Filipinos permanently residing in Japan, in forms of outside legal protection such as “restricted access to housing, education, health care and employment opportunities,” highlighted the case against Koreans, as most of the hate speech rallies were directed at them. An example included in the report is the group Zentokukai (“citizens against special privileges for Zainichi Koreans”). Zainichi is the term for people with Korean ancestry who have obtained permanent resident status in Japan. In the report, it said how Japanese officials publicly denounced harassment of the ethnic groups. They also upheld the protection of individual rights for everyone in the country.
The number of hate speech demonstrations directed towards Koreans increased in 2013 in light of the strained bilateral ties between Japan and South Korea. So much so that “hate speech” was a top buzzword in Japan last year. Meanwhile, the report showed that in North Korea, around 80,000 to 120,000 people have been detained in active political prison camps. Secretary of State John Kerry even reported that “a U.N. Commission of Inquiry recently found clear and compelling evidence of wholesale torture and crimes against humanity” in North Korea. China on the other hand, was criticized for its increased crackdown on people protesting at issues such as limited Internet access and political corruption. It noted “a lack of due process in judicial proceedings” and “political control of courts and judges” as the main human rights challenge in China.